Joel Embiid isn’t going to start in this year’s All-Star Game, despite putting up MVP-caliber numbers. And Sixers general manager Daryl Morey is blaming … the Boston media.
Well, the oft-maligned members of the media are fighting back.
In a recent radio interview, Morey blasted Boston sportswriters for snubbing Embiid — without any proof. “Joel Embiid got completely hosed once again,” he said. “This time, to your point, the perpetrators of the crime were the shameless media. Most of them have recused themselves because they don't want to vote on something that affects players' paychecks, but the shameless Boston media is way overrepresented. They haven't recused themselves, and they shoved Joel low enough so that he's not an All-Star starter. It's crazy.”
Embiid finished fourth in overall voting in the East’s front court, behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum. The formula for determining All-Star starters is 50 percent fan vote, 25 percent player vote and 25 percent media vote.
With that in mind, it isn’t very hard to rebut Morey’s ill-supported argument. While Tatum finished first in the media vote, Embiid placed third. Embiid finished fourth in fan voting, which carries double the impact of media voting.
If Morey wants to blame Embiid’s snub on a particular faction of All-Star voters, his gripe should probably be directed towards the fans.
Then again, it’s easier to throw barbs at media people instead of fans, who buy tickets to games and fill the league’s coffers.
On NBC Sports Boston Monday, longtime NBA writer Chris Mannix called out Morey for his flawed argument.
"He's also wrong. Let's start there. He's wrong,” said Mannix. “The media voted Joel Embiid number three. That means he was voted a starter by the media. The players voted Joel number three. The fans voted Joel number four. So maybe, Daryl, you should go to your marketing department and say, 'How is it that Philadelphia -- population 1.5 million -- was outvoted by Milwaukee -- population 500,000?' And maybe we start figuring that out from there.”
In terms of the voting breakdown, two writers from the Boston Globe had All-Star votes, along with six writers from The Ringer. Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo, both of whom hail from Boston, have two of The Ringer’s votes.
On Twitter, Simmons said he voted for Embiid to start as well.
While Embiid should be a starter — the center leads the NBA in scoring with 33.8 points per game while averaging 10 rebounds and 4.2 assists — Tatum belongs there, too. He’s averaging 31.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per contest this season.
Oh, and the Celtics are also the best team in the NBA.
Maybe that’s what Morey is actually upset about.